Getmore Rumbudzai Chikowe,a Lindiwe Nomathemba Mpala,a Ian Edwin Cocka,b*
aSchool of Natural Sciences, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia.
bEnvironmental Futures Research Institute, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia.
Published: September 2017
Type: Original Article
Introduction: Kunzea flavescens C.T.White & W.D.Francis is a shrub that is native to eastern Australia. Several Kunzea spp. have been used as traditional medicines against bacterial pathogens. Despite this, K. flavescens leaf extractions have not been rigorously examined for growth inhibitory properties against many bacterial pathogens. Methods: The antimicrobial activity of K. flavescens leaf solvent extractions was investigated by disc diffusion and growth time course assays against a panel of pathogenic bacteria. The growth inhibitory activity was quantified by MIC determination. Toxicity was determined using the Artemia franciscana nauplii bioassay. Results: Methanolic, aqueous and ethyl acetate K. flavescens leaf extracts inhibited the growth of a wide range of bacterial species. Growth of both gram positive and gram negative bacteria was inhibited by the K. flavescens leaf extracts, although a higher proportion of gram positive species were susceptible. The methanolic extract was generally more potent than the aqueous or ethyl acetate extracts against all susceptible bacteria. The methanolic K. flavescens leaf extract was a particularly potent inhibitor of P. mirabilis and K. pneumoniae growth, with MIC values of 393 and 481 μg/mL respectively. The antibacterial activity of the methanolic K. flavescens leaf extract was further investigated by growth time course assays which showed significant growth inhibition in cultures of K. pneumoniae and P. mirabilis within 1 h of exposure. All extracts were determined to be nontoxic in the Artemia franciscana nauplii bioassay, indicating their safety for internal use as well as for topical uses. Conclusions: The lack of toxicity of the K. flavescens leaf extracts and their growth inhibitory bioactivity against a panel of pathogenic bacteria indicate their potential in the development of novel antiseptic agents.
Key words: Kunzea flavescens, Myrtaceae, Autoimmune inflammatory disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Terpenoid, Antibacterial activity, Medicinal plants.